By Cheryl Alexander
Many times, undecking the halls after a jolly, happy Christmas is less Fa-La-La-La and more bah humbug. However, with a packing plan, you might just leave the holiday with some of your cheer intact. Here are some storage tips to prevent your precious ornaments from getting smashed and make it easier to set up next year.
Step 1: Throw stuff away
Start by getting rid of:
• Items with broken pieces
• Items that you no longer display
• Lights that no longer work
• Anything that no longer looks good with the rest of your decorations
If a decoration is still in working order but just doesn’t fit with your style any longer, donate it to a local charity.
Step 2: Separate items by use and type
For this step, you’ll want to create a separate pile for each of the below groups of items:
• Indoor string lights
• Outdoor string lights
• Outdoor Ornaments and ornament holders
• Christmas trees
• Village houses
• General Christmas décor
• Gift wrapping supplies
Organize within these groups as necessary. For example, if you have multiple trees, each with a designated set of ornaments, group together the ornaments that go on the same tree and keep each tree and group separate.
Step 3: Untangle strings and strands
Don’t simply pile your string lights. Prevent any tangles by using hangers, plastic wrap, cardboard, or cord reels, and if you’re tight on space, choose the method that keeps your lights as condensed as possible.
Step 4: Separate out fragile and breakable items
Within each of your groupings, separate the fragile while keeping like items grouped together, i.e. all your breakable village houses together, all your breakable general décor together, etc. Remember that something doesn’t have to be glass or ceramic to be considered fragile. Many Christmas decorations have tiny, intricate pieces, so if you’re worried it could get broken, separate it into a breakables pile.
Step 5: Gather your storage containers and boxes
Use separate containers for each of your organized piles. Keep in mind that plastic provides environmental protection from moisture and dust and can be used year after year.
The time you invest this season in organizing and protecting your holiday décor as you pack up will undoubtedly make decking your halls for next year even more joyful than usual.
7 Packing Tips for Holiday Decorations
Use clear resealable bags: To keep ornaments sorted by color, use clear gallon bags from your kitchen so that next year, assessing your stash will be super easy.
Artificial tree storage: If you store your artificial tree in the garage, shrink wrapping it with saran wrap will keep it clean and protected. Next year, slice up the side of the wrap with scissors and fluff the branches into shape. Another idea is to use dust sheets to create bags for the top, middle, and bottom pieces of your artificial tree. You can still store them in your garage all year long without worrying about them getting flat or dirty.
Keep garland in water bottles: When stored with other decorations, sometimes long strings of beaded garland can get twisted. Storing your beads in a 2-liter plastic bottle will prevent this. Each container will hold about two strings of beads.
Hang your ornaments: To store shatter-proof ornaments, consider cutting wooden rods to fit into your plastic bins, then loop the ribbon hangers for each ornament on the rods.
Save money with salvaged containers: If plastic storage is not in your budget, then procure a few wine boxes with cardboard dividers, which you can fold and cut as needed. Layer two to three ornaments wrapped in tissue paper into each slot, placing heavier ones on the bottom. Use egg cartons for tiny trinkets, plastic produce containers or shoeboxes for bigger baubles, and paper-towel tubes for tinsel garlands.
Keep wreaths resilient: Hang your wreaths to preserve their resiliency. If you have lots of wreaths and nowhere to hang them, invest in a portable clothing rack. Wrap the wreaths in plastic, hang them on the rack, and store it in your basement or garage.
Crush-proof your ornaments: Use leftover plastic cups from holiday parties to provide a protective shell for delicate decorations. Then glue the cups to a piece of cardboard and stack multiple layers on top of each other and store them in a plastic bin.